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Supply chains serving nearly all industries and verticals have been battered by the COVID-19 health pandemic, and pharma is no exception. This will have profound and far-reaching implications, including supply chain disruptions and issues, such as delay of pharma freight, for pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Logistics networks worldwide have been severely stretched because of a combination of the demand booms with reopening economies, ongoing congestion at ports and temporarily blocked key transport routes. And changing customer demand is driving more reliance on contract manufacturing as well as higher R&D costs.

Pharma freight challenges

The challenges and issues facing pharma supply chains and pharma freight delivery are unique and diverse. And chief among these challenges is the over-reliance on certain geographies for manufacturing drugs.

Other supply challenges and problems include:

  • Sourcing issues, such as single-source supply—particularly damaging and costly if the supply source is affected and not able to satisfy demands
  • Sites closure affecting production capabilities
  • Transportation disruptions and issues

Resilience in pharma supply chain

To increase resilience and agility, manufacturers certainly need more redundancy. For example, they may add more sites, possibly near- or on-shoring production.

There are many operational strategies to overcome or minimize supply chain disruptions in the pharma sector. Manufacturing firms with commoditized production processes that have to manage more demanding lead-time requirements and higher-value products will likely move to regional and even local supply chains in order to ensure resilience and flexibility. However, most pharma executives know that moving production close to home markets can be very costly. So how to increase the responsiveness of existing supply chains?

Firstly, companies need a more comprehensive and complete understanding of the various risks that span the entire supply chain.

And to increase transparency, there is a need for a modular approach to manufacturing. This will enable companies to shift production whenever needed to other sites and regions across the globe. Note that increasing production line digitization, as well as automation, also bolsters adaptability.

This, in turn, supports and facilitates operators when they have to make rapid changes in order to cope with disruption.  The following can be helpful:

  • Adopting multi-sourcing strategies, such as having a Tier 1 and a reliable and qualified Tier 2 supplier for the same material
  • Creating robust and reliable quality management maturity
  • Allocating demands to or improving capacities at other sites
  • Leveraging data
  • Evaluating and assessing alternate distribution methods and channels
  • Sharing valuable information in supply chains and investing in supplier development

Implementing the above solutions and different technologies will help to address the challenges of the pandemic and fix the structural problems that have long plagued the industry. Through a relationship ecosystem, it is possible for leaders to access different technologies and support innovations. 

Your alternative 2WIN

Emons Cargo 2WIN is an industry-leading provider of pharma freight and medical transportation, supply chain, and logistics solutions. And the key to addressing supply chain disruptions is to choose reliable partners. It is best to ship with the experts at Emons, one of Europe’s leading and most reliable logistics providers.